by a seasonable offer ; and I parted from the Genius of
Muskegon for thirty francs. Where she now stands,
under what name she is admired or criticised, history
does not inform us ; but I like to think she may adorn
the shrubbery of some suburban tea-garden, where holi-
day shop-girls hang their hats upon the mother, and
their swains (by way of an approach of gallantry) ideir
kify the winged infant with the god of love.
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 87
In a certain cabman's eating-house on the outer boule-
vard I got credit for my midday meal. Supper I was
supposed not to require, sitting down nightly to the
delicate table of some rich acquaintances. This arrange-
ment was extremely ill-considered. My fable, credible
enough at first, and so long as my clothes were in good
order, must have seemed worse than doubtful after my
coat became frayed about the edges, and my boots begar
to squelch and pipe along the restaurant floors. The
allowance of one meal a day besides, though suitable
enough to the state of my finances, agreed poorly with
my stomach. The restaurant was a place I had often
visited experimentally, to taste the life of students then
more unfortunate than myself; and I had never in
those days entered it without disgust, or left it without
nausea. It was strange to find myself sitting down with
avidity, rising up with satisfaction, and counting the
hours that divided me from my return to such a table.
But hunger is a great magician ; and so soon as I had
spent my ready cash, and could no longer fill up on
bowls of chocolate or hunks of bread, I must depend
entirely on thab cabman's eating-house, and upon certain
rare, long-expected, long-remembered windfalls. Dijon
(for instance) might get paid for some of his pot-boiling
work, or else an old friend would pass through Paris j
and then I would be entertained to a meal after my own
soul, and contract a Latin Quarter loan, which would
keep me in tobacco and my morning coffee for a fork
88 THE WRECKER.
night. It might be thought the latter would appear the
more important. It might be supposed that a life, led
so near the confines of actual famine, should have dulled
the nicety of my palate. On the contrary, the poorer a
man's diet, the more sharply is he set on dainties. The
last of my ready cash, about thirty francs, was deliber-
ately squandered on a single dinner ; and a great part of
my time when I was alone was passed upon the details
of imaginary feasts.
One gleam of hope visited me an order for a bust
from a rich Southerner. He was free-handed, jolly of
speech, merry of countenance ; kept me in good humour
through the sittings, and when they were over, carried
me off with him to dinner and the sights of Paris. I ate
well ; I laid on flesh ; by all accounts, I made a favour-
able likeness of the being, and I confess I thought my
future was assured. But when the bust was done, and
I had despatched it across the Atlantic, I could never so
much as learn of its arrival. The blow felled me; I
should have lain down and tried no stroke to right
myself, had not the honour of my country been involved.
For Dijon improved the opportunity in the European
style ; informing me (for the first time) of the manners
of America : how it was a den of banditti without the
smallest rudiment of law or order, and debts could be
there only collected with a shotgun. " The whole world
knows it," he would say; "you are alone, mon petit
Loudon, you are alone to be in ignorance of these facts.
I AM DOWN 01* MY LUCK IN PARIS. 89
judges of the Supreme Court fought but the other
day with stilettos on the bench at Cincinnati You
should read the little book of one of my friends: Le
Touriste dans le Far-West; you will see it all there in
good French." At last, incensed by days of such dis-
cussion, I undertook to prove to him the contrary, %rd
put the affair in the hands of my late father's lawyer.
From him I had the gratification of hearing, after a due
interval, that my debt r was dead of the yellow fever in
Key West, and had left his affairs in some confusion.
t suppress his name ; for though he treated me with
cruel nonchalance, it is probable he meant to deal fairly
In the end.
Soon after this a shade of change in my reception at
the cabman's eating-house marked the beginning of a
new phase in my distress. The first day, I told myself
it was but fancy; the next, I made quite sure it was
a fact } the third, in mere panic I stayed away, and went
for forty-eight hours fasting. This was an act of great
unreason ; for the debtor who stays away is but the
more remarked, and the boarder who misses a meal is
sure to be accused of infidelity. On the fourth day,
therefore, I returned, inwardly quaking. The proprietor
looked askance upon my entrance ; the waitresses (who
were his daughters) neglected my wants and sniffed at
the affected joviality of my salutations ; last and most
jiain, when I called for a suisse (such as was being
served to all the other diners) I was blutly told there
90 THE WRECKBB.
were no more. It was obvious I was near the end of my
tether j one plank divided me from want, and now I felt
it tremble. I passed a sleepless night, and the first
thing in the morning took my way to Myner's studio.
It was a step I had long meditated and long refrained
f '-^m ; for I was scarce intimate with the Englishman ;
and though I knew him to possess plenty of money,
neither his manner nor his reputation were the least
encouraging to beggars.
I found him at work on a picture, which I was able
conscientiously to praise, dressed in his usual tweeds,
plain, but pretty fresh, and standing out in disagreeable
contrast to my own withered and degraded outfit. As
we talked, he continued to shift his eyes watchfully be-
tween his handiwork and the fat model, who sat at the
far end of the studio in a state of nature, with one arm
gallantly arched above her head. My errand would have
been difficult enough under the best of circumstances :
placed between Myner, immersed in his art, and the
white, fat, naked female in a ridiculous attitude, I found
it quite impossible. Again and again I attempted to
approach the point, again and again fell back on com-
mendations of the picture; and it was not until the
model had enjoyed an interval of repose, during which
she took the conversation in her own hands and regaled
us (in a soft, weak voice) with details as to her husband's
prosperity, her sister's lamented decline from the paths
of virtue, and the consequent wrath of her father, a
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 91
peasant of stern principles, in the vicinity of Chalons on
the Marne ; it was not, I say, until after this was over,
and I had once more cleared my throat for the attack,
and once more dropped aside into some commonplace
about the picture, that Myner himself brought me sud-
denly and vigorously to the point.
" You didn't come here to talk this rot," said he.
" No," I replied sullenly ; " I came to borrow money."
He painted awhile in silence.
" I don't think we were ever very intimate ? " he asked.
"Thank you," said I. "I can take my answer," and
I made as if to go, rage boiling in my heart.
" Of course you can go if you like," said Myner ; " but"
I advise you to stay and have it out."
"What more is there to say?" I cried. "You don't
want to keep me here for a needless humiliation ? *
" Look here, Dodd, you must try and command your
temper, "said he. ' ' This interview is of your own seek-
ing , an d not mine ; if you suppose it ' s not disagreeable to
me, you're wrong; and if you think I will give you
money without knowing thoroughly about your pros-
pects, you take me for a fool. Besides," he added, "if
you come to look at it, you've got over the worst of it by
now: you have done the asking, and you have every
reason to know I mean to refuse. I hold out no false
hopes, but it may be worth your while to let me j udge. ' '
Thus I was going to say encouraged, I stumbled
through my story; told him I had credit at the cab-
92 THE WKECKER.
man's eating-house, but began to think it was drawing to
a close ; how Dijon lent me a corner of his studio, where
I tried to model ornaments, figures for clocks, Time with
the scythe, Leda and the swan, musketeers for candle-
sticks, and other kickshaws, which had never (up to
that day) been honoured with the least approval.
" And your room ? " asked Myner.
" 0, my room is all right, I think," said I. " She is
a very good old lady, and has never even mentioned her
" Because she is a very good old lady, I don't see why
she should be fined," observed Myner.
" What do you mean by that ? " I cried.
"I mean this," said he. "The French give a great
deal of credit amongst themselves ; they find it pays on
the whole, or the system would hardly be continued;
but I can't see where we come in ; I can't see that it's
honest of us Anglo-Saxons to profit by their easy ways,
and then skip over the channel or (as you Yankees do)
across the Atlantic."
"But I'm not proposing to skip," I objected.
"Exactly," he replied. "And shouldn't you? There's
the problem. You seem to me to have a lack of sym-
pathy for the proprietors of cabmen's eating-houses. By
your own account you're not getting on : the longer you
stay, it'll only be the more out of the pocket of the dear
old lady at your lodgings. Now I'll tell you what I'll
do : if you consent to go, I'll pay your passage to New
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 93
York, and your railway fare and expenses to Mnskegon
(if I have the name right) where your father lived,
where he must have left friends, and where, no doubt,
you'll find an opening. I don't seek any gratitude, for
of course you'll think me a beast ; but I do ask you to
pay it back when you are able. At any rate, that's all
I can do. It might be different if I thought you a genius,
Dodd ; but I don't, and I advise you not to."
" I think that was uncalled for, at least," said I.
" I dare say it was," he returned, with the same steadi-
ness. "It seemed to me pertinent; and besides, when
you ask me for money upon no security, you treat me
with the liberty of a friend, and it's to be presumed that
I can do the like. But the point is, do you accept ? "
" No, thank you," said I ; "I have another string to
"All right," says Myner. "Be sure it's honest."
"Honest? honest?" I cried. "What do you mean
by calling my honesty in question ? "
"I won't, if you don't like it," he replied. "You
seem to think honesty as easy as Blind Man's Buff : I
don't. It's some difference of definition."
I went straight from this irritating interview, during
which Myner had never discontinued painting, to the
studio of my old master. Only one card remained for
me to play, and I was now resolved to play it : I must
drop the gentleman and the frock-coat, and approach art
in the workman's tunic.
94 THE WRECKER.
" Tiens, this little Dodd ! " cried the master ; and
then, as his eye fell on my dilapidated clothing, I
thought I could perceive his countenance to darken.
I made my plea in English ; for I knew, if he were
rain of anything, it was of his achievement of the island
tongue. "Master," said I, "will you take me in your
studio again ? but this time as a workman."
" I sought your fazer was immensely reech," said he.
I explained to him that I was now an orphan and
He shook his head. "I have betterr workmen wait-
ing at my door," said he ; " far betterr workmen."
"You used to think something of my work, sir," I
" Somesing, somesing yds ! " he cried ; " Enough for
a son of a reech man not Enough for an orphan.
Besides, I sought you might learn to be an artist ; I did
not sink you might learn to be a workman."
On a certain bench on the outer boulevard, not far
from the tomb of Napoleon, a bench shaded at that date
by a shabby tree, and commanding a view of muddy
roadway and blank wall, I sat down to wrestle with my
misery. The weather was cheerless and dark ; in three
days I had eaten but once ; I had no tobacco ; my shoes
were soaked, my trousers horrid with mire ; my humour
and all the circumstances of the time and place lugubri-
ously attuned. Here were two men who had both
spoken fairly of my work while I was rich and wanted
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 95
nothing ; now that I was poor and lacked all : " no
genius," said the one ; "not enough for an orphan," the
other; and the first offered me my passage like a
pauper immigrant, and the second refused me a day's
wage as a hewer of stone plain dealing for an empty
belly. They had not been insincere in the past ; they
were not insincere to-day : change of circumstance had
introduced a new criterion : that was all.
But if I acquitted my two Job's comforters of insin-
cerity, I was yet far from admitting them infallible.
Artists had been contemned before, and had lived to
turn the laugh on their contemners. How old was Corot
before he struck the vein of his own precious metal ?
When had a young man been more derided (or more
justly so) than the god of my admiration, Balzac ? Or if
I required a bolder inspiration, what had I to do but
turn my head to where the gold dome of the Invalides
glittered against inky squalls, and recall the tale of him
sleeping there : from the day when a young artillery-sub
could be giggled at and nicknamed Puss-in-Boots by
frisky misses ; on to the days of so many crowns and
so many victories, and so many hundred mouths of
cannon, and so many thousand war-hoofs trampling the
roadways of astonished Europe eighty miles in front of
the grand army ? To go back, to give up, to proclaim
myself a failure, an ambitious failure, first a rocket,
then a stick ! I, Loudon Dodd, who had refused all
other livelihoods with scorn, and been advertised in the
06 THE WJRECKKIR.
Saint Joseph Sunday Herald as a patriot and an artist,
to be returned upon my native Muskegon like damaged
goods, and go the circuit of my father's acquaintance,
cap in hand, and begging to sweep offices ! No, by
Napoleon! I would die at my chosen trade; and the
two who had that day flouted me should live to envy
my success, or to weep tears of unavailing penitence
behind my pauper coffin.
Meantime, if my courage was still undiminished, I was
none the nearer to a meal. At no great distance my
cabman's eating-house stood, at the tail of a muddy cab-
rank, on the shores of a wide thoroughfare of mud,
offering (to fancy) a face of ambiguous invitation. I
might be received, I might once more fill my belly
there; on the other hand, it was perhaps this day the
bolt was destined to fall, and I might be expelled in-
stead, with vulgar hubbub. It was policy to make the
attempt, and I knew it was policy; but I had already,
in the course of that one morning, endured too many
affronts, and I felt I could rather starve than face
another. I had courage and to spare for the future,
none left for that day ; courage for the main campaign,
but not a spark of it for that preliminary skirmish of
the cabman's restaurant. I continued accordingly to sit
upon my bench, not far from the ashes of Napoleon,
now drowsy, now light-headed, now in complete mental
obstruction, or only conscious of an animal pleasure in
quiescence ; and now thinking, planning, and remember-
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 97
ing with unexampled clearness, telling myself tales of
sudden wealth, and gustfully ordering and greedily con-
suming imaginary meals : in the course of which I must
have dropped asleep.
It was towards dark that I was suddenly recalled to
famine by a cold souse of rain, and sprang shivering
to my feet. For a moment I stood bewildered: the
whole train of my reasoning and dreaming passed afresh,
through my mind; I was again tempted, drawn as if
with cords, by the image of the cabman's eating-house,
and again recoiled from the possibility of insult. " Qui
dort dine" thought I to myself ; and took my homeward
way with wavering footsteps, through rainy streets in
which the lamps and the shop-windows now began to
gleam; still marshalling imaginary dinners as I went.
" Ah, Monsieur Dodd," said the porter, " there has been
a registered letter for you. The facteur will bring it
A registered letter for me, who had been so long with-
out one ? Of what it could possibly contain, I had no
vestige of a guess; nor did I delay myself guessing;
far less form any conscious plan of dishonesty : the lies
flowed from me like a natural secretion.
" 0," said I, " my remittance at last ! What a bother
I should have missed it! Can you lend me a hundred
francs until to-morrow?"
I had never attempted to borrow from the porter till
that moment : the registered letter was, besides, my war
98 THE WRECKER.
ranty ; and he gave me what he had three napoleons
and some francs in silver. I pocketed the money care-
lessly, lingered awhile chaffing, strolled leisurely to the
door; and then (fast as my trembling legs could carry
me) round the corner to the Cafe" de Cluny. French
waiters are deft and speedy : they were not deft enough
for me; and I had scarce decency to let the man set
the wine upon the table or put the butter alongside
the bread, before my glass and my mouth were filled.
Exquisite bread of the Cafe" Cluny, exquisite first glass
of old Pomard tingling to my wet feet, indescribable
first olive culled from the hors d'ceuvre I suppose, when
1 come to lie dying, and the lamp begins to grow dim,
I shall still recall your savour. Over the rest of that
meal, and the rest of the evening, clouds lie thick:
clouds perhaps of Burgundy; perhaps, more properly,
of famine and repletion.
I remember clearly, at least, the shame, the despair,
of the next morning, when I reviewed what I had done,
and how I had swindled the poor, honest porter; and,
as if that were not enough, fairly burnt my ships, and
brought bankruptcy home to that last refuge, my garret.
The porter would expect his money; I could not pay
him ; here was scandal in the house ; and I knew right
well, the cause of scandal would have to pack. " What
do you mean by calling my honesty in question ? " I
had cried the day before, turning upon Myner. Ah,
that day before I the day before Waterloo, the day be-
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 99
fore the Flood ; the day before I had sold the roof over
my head, my future, and my self-respect, for a dinner
at the Cafe" Cluny!
In the midst of these lamentations the famous regis-
tered letter came to my door, with healing under its
seals. It bore the postmark of San Francisco, where
Pinkerton was already struggling to the neck in multi-
farious affairs: it renewed the offer of an allowance,
which his improved estate permitted him to announce
at the figure of two hundred francs a month; and in
case I was in some immediate pinch, it enclosed an
introductory draft for forty dollars. There are a
thousand excellent reasons why a man, in this self-
helpful epoch, should decline to be dependent on an-
other ; but the most numerous and cogent considerations
all bow to a necessity as stern as mine ; and the banks
were scarce open ere the draft was cashed.
It was early in December that I thus sold myself
into slavery; and for six months I dragged a slowly
lengthening chain of gratitude and uneasiness. At the
cost of some debt I managed to excel myself and
eclipse the Genius of Muskegon, in a small but highly
patriotic Standard Bearer for the Salon ; whither it was
duly admitted, where it stood the proper length of days
entirely unremarked, and whence it came back to me
as patriotic as before. I threw my whole soul (as
Pinkerton would have phrased it) into clocks and can-
dlesticks; the devil a candlestick-maker would have
100 THE WRECKER.
anything to say to my designs. Even when Dijon, with
his infinite good humour and infinite scorn for all such
journey-work, consented to peddle them in indiscrimi-
nately with his own, the dealers still detected and
rejected mine. Home they returned to me, true as the
Standard Bearer ; who now, at the head of quite a regi-
ment of lesser idols, began to grow an eyesore in the
scanty studio of my friend. Dijon and I have sat by
fche hour, and gazed upon that company of images. The
severe, the frisky, the classical, the Louis Quinze, were
there from Joan of Arc in her soldierly cuirass to
Leda with the swan ; nay, and God forgive me for a
man that knew better ! the humourous was represented
also. We sat and gazed, I say ; we criticised, we turned
them hither and thither ; even upon the closest inspec-
tion they looked quite like statuettes; and yet nobody
would have a gift of them!
Vanity dies hard ; in some obstinate cases it outlives
the man: but about the sixth month, when I already
owed near two hundred dollars to Pinkerton, and half as
much again in debts scattered about Paris, I awoke one
morning with a horrid sentiment of oppression, and
found I was alone: my vanity had breathed her last
during the night. I dared not plunge deeper in the bog;
I saw no hope in my poor statuary; I owned myself
beaten at last ; and sitting down in my nightshirt beside
the window, whence I had a glimpse of the tree-tops at
the corner of the boulevard, and where the music of its
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS. 101
early traffic fell agreeably upon my ear, I penned my
farewell to Paris, to art, to my whole past life, and my
whole former self. " I give in," I wrote. " When the
next allowance arrives, I shall go straight out West
where you can do what you like with me."
It is to be understood that Pinkerton had been, in a
sense, pressing me to come from the beginning ; depict-
ing his isolation among new acquaintances, "who have
none of them your culture," he wrote; expressing his
friendship in terms so warm that it sometimes embar-
rassed me to think how poorly I could echo them; dwell-
ing upon his need for assistance ; and the next moment
turning about to commend my resolution and press me
to remain in Paris. " Only remember, Loudon," he would
write, "if you ever do tire of it, there's plenty work
here for you honest, hard, well-paid work, developing
the resources of this practically virgin State. And of
course I needn't say what a pleasure it would be to me
if we were going at it shoulder to shoulder" I marvel
(looking back) that I could so long have resisted these
appeals, and continued to sink my friend's money in a
manner that I knew him to dislike. At least, when I
did awake to any sense of my position, I awoke to it
entirely; and determined not only to follow his coun-
sel for the future, but even as regards the past, to rectify
his losses. For in this juncture of affairs I called to
mind that I was not without a possible resource, and
resolved, at whatever cost of mortification, to beard the
Loudon family in their historic city.
102 THE WRECKER.
In the excellent Scots' phrase, I made a moonlight flit-
ting, a thing never dignified, but in my case unusually
easy. As I had scarce a pair of boots worth portage,
I deserted the whole of my effects without a pang.
Dijon fell heir to Joan of Arc, the Standard Bearer, and
the Musketeers. He was present when I bought and
frugally stocked my new portmanteau ; and it was at the
door of the trunk shop that I took my leave of him, for
my last few hours in Paris must be spent alone. It was
alone (and at a far higher figure than my finances war-
ranted) that I discussed my dinner ; alone that I took
my ticket at Saint Lazare ; all alone, though in a carriage
full of people, that I watched the moon shine on the
Seine flood with its tufted islets, on Rouen with her
spires, and on the shipping in the harbour of Dieppe.
When the first light of the morning called me from
troubled slumbers on the deck, I beheld the dawn at
first with pleasure; I watched with pleasure the green
shores of England rising out of rosy haze ; I took the
salt air with delight into my nostrils ; and then all came
back to me; that I was no longer an artist, no longer
myself ; that I was leaving all I cared for, and return-
ing to all that I detested, the slave of debt and gratitude,
a public and a branded failure.
From this picture of my own disgrace and wretched-
ness, it is not wonderful if my mind turned with relief
to the thought of Pinkerton, waiting for me, as I knew,
with unwearied affection, and regarding me with a
I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PAEIS. 103
respect that I had never deserved, and might therefore
fairly hope that I should never forfeit. The inequality
of our relation struck me rudely. I must have been